The Cleveland Browns defeated the New York Giants 10-6 and are now 2-0 in the preseason.
Here’s my takeaways from the victory
The focus as always in Cleveland is on the quarterback position.
Brock Osweiler once again started for the Browns and once again he struggled to lead the offense.
He finished 6-8 for 25 yards and an interception. His two incompletions showed why he despite what the media and allegedly some of his teammates have said, he’s not the best option for the Browns this season.
Some would think being 6’8 would be an advantage for an NFL quarterback, but when the defense can see your eyes locked on to a receiver, it’s not so much of an advantage. That led to his pass being deflected and intercepted.
He also seemed to want to throw his passes higher in the air than needed which led to guys like Corey Coleman having to jump up to grab the ball.
DeShone Kizer showed he’s a rookie with some of his mistakes on the field but when put in a good situation, he can execute drives and put points on the board.
Kizer finished 8-13 for 74 yards, he did throw an interception but it was disregarded when the Giants got called for a defensive holding penalty.
He also showed his mobility as a quarterback, running five times for 35 yards including a one yard sneak into the end zone for a touchdown. There’s still some things he needs to work on.
Kizer tends to hold on to the ball a little longer than necessary which led to the multiple sacks he took, the mental clock needs to get quicker which it will as he’s on the field more. He also needs to learn how to slide and not be willing to take hits or he won’t be on the field very long once he is the starter.
Head coach Hue Jackson said he wants to put the competition to rest and will name the official starting quarterback on Wednesday.
From how he was talking, I along with others believe that will be Kizer.
Defense continues to impress
The Browns defense continued to show why it’ll be a force this coming season.
Facing legit competition this week with Eli Manning and his group of talented playmakers like Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall, the Browns went after them early and often on Monday night.
Holding the Giants’ first team offense to just three points, the Gregg Williams’ coached defense continued to show it’s physicality and some guys definitely stood out.
Joe Schobert continues to make a smooth transition to the middle linebacker position as he’s fighting for the starting role. Tank Carder went down early with a knee injury and Schobert stepped in and made an impact. He made a sack and seemed to be around whoever the ball carrier was for the Giants. He finished the game with six tackles and the sack.
Briean Boddy-Calhoun has been very impressive in his second season so far through preseason. He’s shown the physical play that Williams likes and it showed up on the national stage in a major way.
Boddy-Calhoun stopped Odell Beckham after a catch with a tackle at the legs that forced Beckham to exit the game. It was a legal hit but that didn’t stop national writers complaining about the hit.
If they want to be mad at anyone, it’s the NFL. They stopped the players from hitting the heads to prevent head and neck injuries so the players now are tackling at the legs. Injuries are going to happen and I hope Beckham is okay but don’t be attacking guys like Boddy-Calhoun for making the legal tackle.
He also intercepted Geno Smith in the second half thanks to the pressure from the front seven of the defense.
Myles Garrett finally got his first sack as a professional when he got Geno Smith late in the first half. He probably would’ve had more if Ereck Flowers wasn’t putting him in a headlock throughout the first half on Monday night.
Jabrill Peppers continues to impress not only on defense but as the return man on punts.
Peppers stopped a potential big play by Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall by laying a nasty hit on him. The referees threw a flag for unnecessary roughness but since the ball was still catchable, they picked up the flag.
He also had a big punt return for 31 yards after the Giants opening drive. Another decent punt return after the third drive was called back for holding but you can clearly see Peppers is the man the team has needed at punt return since Josh Cribbs left the team in 2013.
Browns players kneeled during anthem
Prior to the game during the national anthem, a group of Browns players kneeled in a circle.
Those players included Jabrill Peppers, Jamie Collins, Kenny Britt and Seth DeValve.
I know this has been a controversial topic in this country with Colin Kaepernick being at the fore front of it.
I understand why doing this would upset and anger people but I look at it like this, this country was and is based on the opportunity for freedom and we have the freedom to express ourselves in any way possible.
If the players want to express how they feel about the current things going on in this country, that’s fine.
The Browns released a statement during the game about the protest
As I mentioned above, linebacker Tank Carder suffered an knee injury early in the game and didn’t return. Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal reported Carder left the stadium on crutches and with a leg brace.
Offensive lineman Matt McCants suffered a leg injury in the fourth quarter and was carted to the locker room.
Tight end David Njoku suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter but was able to get up and walked off the field.
Safety Justin Currie suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and didn’t return to the game